Review staff writer
The women’s soccer team started its game Sept. 28, confident they would win.
The team gathered for a meeting before the game to discuss goals and strategy, junior forward Rachel Miles said.
“We decided to play for each other,” senior forward Kelli Gillespie said. “There was no question in any of our minds that we were going to win.”
After a frustrating loss the day before against Pacific University, the Wildcats rallied for a victory against Lewis & Clark College, earning their first Northwest Conference victory of the season.
“[The first game] was disappointing,” head coach Yi Lin Liu said.
Though the Wildcats started strong, emerging with a 3-0 lead at halftime, Pacific came back in the second half and cinched a 4-3 win in the final seconds of overtime.
Miles said they had the advantage in the first half, but the team just couldn’t hold onto it.
“We worked so hard,” Gillespie said. “To lose that was so heartbreaking.”
Judging by the numbers, it was Pacific’s game from the start. The Boxers shot 21 times throughout the game to the Wildcats’ 14.
Linfield senior defender Martha Inouye began the game with intensity when she scored off a header after just three minutes. Freshman forward Sarah Walton followed Inouye’s lead with two more goals in the first half.
But the Boxers stepped up during the second period. Seven minutes in, Pacific freshman forward Ashley Carillo put the team on the scoreboard with a header to the upper right corner of the net. Successful shots by sophomore midfielder Jenny Novak and junior midfielder Cheryl Yasumoto tied the game as the second period ended.
In a second overtime, Pacific surged ahead when senior forward Shelley Martindale scored off a corner kick with one second left on the clock.
But Linfield’s upset was tempered by its play against Lewis & Clark.
“We handled the pressure so much better,” Liu said.
He said he was happy to see his team work together, especially under pressure.
The game started as a repeat of Saturday’s, with the Wildcats scoring early and continuing to score throughout the first half. The opening goal came after 12 minutes of play when Miles received a pass from Gillespie on the right. Miles sent a curving ball across the field and toward the far goal post. The Pioneers keeper snagged the ball but not before it passed the line.
A second opportunity presented itself three minutes later when the referee gave the ’Cats an indirect kick near the midfield line. Senior defender Kristine Siler took the kick, sending a ball arcing toward the net.
Both teams scrambled for the ball, and Pioneer goalkeeper freshman Kate MacDougall managed to grab it with the tips of her fingers. But when she lost control, Gillespie darted in and sent the ball flying into the net, putting the ’Cats ahead by two.
In the second half, the Pioneers tried to make a comeback. An indirect kick for Lewis & Clark, taken by senior midfielder Brittany Larson, sent a long cross into the center of the goal box, and freshman midfielder Natalie Stratton ran in to volley the ball into the corner of the net.
Linfield retaliated with another goal, a shot from Miles in the 78th minute. Siler assisted, sending an indirect kick toward the goal.
Others reached for it, but Miles volleyed it into the left side, giving Linfield its final two-point lead.
Though Miles said the NWC contains many good teams who capitalize on the slightest mistake, she is confident they will hold their own.